Sunday, May 21, 2023

#141 / Environmentalism Is A Religion


The "Spread Great Ideas" website wants to spread the ideas of Michael Crichton (pictured above). 
Crichton, who died in 2008, was both an author and a filmmaker. Wikipedia tells us that Crichton wrote and directed Westworld (1973), the first film to utilize 2D computer-generated imagery. He also directed: Coma (1978), The First Great Train Robbery (1978), Looker (1981), and Runaway (1984). Crichton was the creator of the television series ER (1994–2009), and several of his novels were adapted into films, most notably the Jurassic Park franchise
Crichton also identified himself as a "dedicated conservationist," and the "Spread Great Ideas" website goes out of its way to emphasize that being a "conservationist" is quite a different thing from being an "environmentalist." Crichton was no "environmentalist," at least as he and "Spread Great Ideas" define the term.

In a 2003 speech at the Commonwealth Club of California, Crichton said that the then current approaches to the environment were inappropriate. He urged his audience to approach environmental issues with a "scientific" rather than an "emotional" mind, and he particularly claimed that "Environmentalism Is A Religion." Crichton claimed that "Environmentalism" is one of "the most powerful religions in the Western World," and that it is "the religion of choice for urban atheists." 
You can click right here for a full transcript of Crichton's Commonwealth Club speech. One basic thrust of Crichton's speech is that so-called "environmentalists" are "romantic" about the environment, and that their approach is not "fact-based." The dire predictions of the "environmentalists" are over-dramatized, the way Crichton saw it. "Faith" is substituting in for the actual truth. Here is how Crichton puts it:

If you look carefully, you see that environmentalism is in fact a perfect 21st century remapping of traditional Judeo-Christian beliefs and myths.

There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with nature, there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result of eating from the tree of knowledge, and as a result of our actions there is a judgment day coming for us all.

We are all energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability.

Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment. Just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs, imbibe.

Eden, the fall of man, the loss of grace, the coming doomsday—these are deeply held mythic structures. They are profoundly conservative beliefs. They may even be hard-wired in the brain, for all I know. I certainly don’t want to talk anybody out of them, as I don’t want to talk anybody out of a belief that Jesus Christ is the son of God who rose from the dead. But the reason I don’t want to talk anybody out of these beliefs is that I know that I can’t talk anybody out of them.

These are not facts that can be argued. These are issues of faith. And so it is, sadly, with environmentalism. "Facts aren’t necessary, because the tenets of environmentalism are all about belief."
As far as I can tell, the "Spread Great Ideas" effort was begun by Brian David Crane, who self-identifies as "a digital entrepreneur and aspiring polymath." I have concluded, based on the following, from his website, that Crane would consider himself to be another one of those "Masters of the Universe," who have come to believe that they have a particularly acute insight into just about everything. Fabulous wealth can have that effect, it seems! Here is Crane's website self-introduction: 

I moved to Silicon Valley to be part of the original leadership team at Inflection. Thanks to several amazing mentors, I learned how to build and profitably scale web properties. To date, I’ve helped launch a handful of multimillion-dollar digital brands, including, which was bought by for $100 million, just three years after its launch.

While at Inflection, I created a side hustle: Spread Great Ideas, through which I began investing in digital brands and projects that advance causes which are near and dear to my heart i.e. liberty, civil rights, philosophy, and personal sovereignty. To this day, our team at Spread Great Ideas helps those brands profitably reach a larger audience.
I would probably never have found out about "Spread Great Ideas," or the Crichton speech, or about Brian David Crane, if I had not published a blog posting on June 29, 2015, which I titled, "Planetary Opportunities." A "Spread Great Ideas" staff member apparently found that 2015 blog post, and sent me an email, hoping that I would add a link to that posting that would tie to Crichton's "Environmentalism Is A Religion Speech." I assume that the purpose of seeking such a link was to spread the news about the "Spread Great Ideas" effort, which this blog posting will, I trust, accomplish. 

I want to say, however, that I don't really agree with the way "Spread Great Ideas" characterizes "environmentalism," and the way the group denigrates it. It appears to me that one of the "Great Ideas" that Crane and his "Spread Great Ideas" effort wants to advance is the idea that we don't need to worry very much, if at all, about the fact that we are, ultimately, totally dependent on the World of Nature. 
Human ingenuity, money, and a "can do" attitude can accomplish quite a bit - and I am all for them - but all that won't save us if we ignore what I said in that 2015 blog posting, linking to an even earlier one: "Nature Bats Last."

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